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US port congestion leads to ‘intermodal’ surcharge

Lloyd’s Loading List

Lines offering Asia to US services will further ramp up charges in the coming weeks by introducing new ‘intermodal door delivery charges’.

Most member lines of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement will start charging customers US$100 per FEU and USD$90 per TEU on all cargo moving under ‘intermodal store-door delivery through rates’ from Asia to the US.

The new charges will be introduced individually by lines from around November 15 and by no later than the start of December. The TSA said the charges would help lines recover an increase in costs incurred on intermodal services.

“Congested US port terminals, harbor and over-the-road truck and driver shortages, slower trains and longer rail terminal dwell times due to increased domestic rates have not only disrupted service but also driven intermodal rates and cargo handling costs up sharply,” the TSA said.

Defending the new charges, which follow the announcement earlier this month of new minimum rates on US-Asia services, TSA executive administrator Brian Conrad said congestion and associated costs were the result of multiple factors including equipment interchange issues, railcar shortages, freight backup at intermodal terminals and a shift of intermodal cargo to more costly pure truck moves.

“These are systemic issues that will get resolved over time, but in the midst of the peak season and with demand still strong, we don’t have time,” he said.

“Carriers are doing their best given the service and infrastructure constraints we see across the supply chain. For now, as we all work on solutions, the key is cost recovery.”

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